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The flying barbs and challenging diatribes against IBM have been flowing out of Oracle honcho Larry Ellison’s mouth for months, but IBM is fighting back with a bizarre new commercial spoof, complete with a demonic-looking sheep. To further fuel the bad blood, Oracle announced its plans to acquire one of IBM’s close Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) partners, governance software provider AmberPoint.

On the heels of its $7.4 billion acquisition of Sun, the addition of AmberPoint beefs up Oracle’s Enterprise Manager solution, and fills out Oracle’s SOA governance offering. AmberPoint provides governance software for tracking and monitoring transactions across SOA architectures.

“It’s a smart move for Oracle as it patches some gaps in its Enterprise Manager offering, not only in SOA runtime governance, but also with business transaction management – and potentially – better visibility to non-Oracle systems,” posted analyst Tony Baer on the OnStrategies Perspectiv blog.

In addition to IBM, AmberPoint also counts Microsoft and Software AG as close alliances. Speaking to Channel Insider last October, general manager of IBM’s software group Craig Hayman named AmberPoint as one of its key software partners when Big Blue unveiled version 7 of WebSphere.

It will take time, but a bundled, turn-key stack of Oracle on Sun will, most likely, be available in the future, and will compete directly against IBM.  And, when there is a battle underway, Oracle honcho Larry Ellison does not hold back. Ellison has been lobbing barbs at IBM for months.

During a recent webcast about Oracle’s plans for Sun, Ellison took a few potshots at Big Blue, including this delightful nugget when talking about DB2: “IBM is so far behind, they don’t have any chance at all. In databases, they are a decade or so behind us. I’m serious.”

And, through the course of the Sun acquisition, Ellison did not shy away from clearly defining his goal to beat IBM in the systems business, stating at an event in September that, “we think we can succeed and compete and beat IBM. And that’s our goal.”IBM, for its part, is firing back. Big Blue recently posted a bizarre, yet entertaining, faux political commercial aimed at attacking Oracle and Larry Ellison, complete with red-eyed demonic-looking sheep. In the spot — modeled after a real political ad, ironically for former HP CEO Carly Fiorina in her bid for California Senate seat — IBM says it is “at war.” And, although AmberPoint rounds out Oracle’s SOA offering quite well, snatching up a close software partner that IBM may have been eyeing itself through its aggressive software acquisition strategy is just another proof point to Ellison’s obsession to squash Big Blue.

No one can be sure if the possessed sheep is meant to signify Oracle or Ellison himself, but, regardless, the spoof shows IBM is not content to sit back and let Ellison lob insults all over the competitive landscape. Time will tell who will win, and what the stack will look like, but, in true Ellison style, there will be no shortage of entertainment, at least for the short term.